Prepare before you buy

A vital aspect to any property purchase is for the buyer to know that they are ready and prepared to own a home. This is according to Theresa Burger, Broker/Manager of RE/MAX Finest, whose office operates in Brackenhurst, Alberton, the South of Johannesburg, Meyerton, Walkerville and Vanderbijlpark.

“Buying a home is an exciting step to take, but it does come with certain responsibilities and obligations. In order to be fully prepared for the commitment of owning a home, a buyer needs to do some research and take a few essential steps before they start their property search. This will ensure that they are making an informed decision which will be in their best interests in the future,” says Burger.

She notes that one of the first steps that any potential buyer should take is to determine their level of affordability. “The main concern for potential buyers is whether they are financially in a position to purchase a property. A reputable real estate professional will be able to assist the buyer regarding determining their affordability level by taking into account their income and expenditure.  Ideally the buyer should get pre-qualification from a bond origination company or financial institution. This way they will know the pricing of the homes that they can comfortably afford and continue to pay over the term of the loan period,” advises Burger.

According to Burger, it is not just the bond repayment that should be considered when looking at finances. Aside from the bond repayments, a buyer needs to consider the following:

-          What interest rates are the banks charging

-          Rates and taxes payable on the property

-          All transfer and bond costs payable by the buyer

-          If purchasing a sectional title, body corporate rules and regulations and all levies imposed by the body corporate

Burger says that once a buyer has determined their financial standing, it is important for them to communicate their requirements to the real estate agent they choose to work with. “Communication is vital in the relationship between the buyer and the agent. If the communication channels are open, it will be far easier for the agent to understand exactly what the buyer is looking for.”

She notes that the number one consideration for buyers to take into account when looking for a property is its location. Ideally the property should be in a good area and be close to amenities such as shops, a hospital or medical clinic and good schools. Distance from the workplace and accessibility to major transport routes should also be taken into account.

“Considering that purchasing a property is a large investment, it is important to buy a home that will appreciate in value over time and will offer the buyer a good return when they decide to sell,” says Burger.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that a property’s location and proximity to amenities are one of the major determining factors that influence a home’s potential appreciation. It is better to opt for a smaller home in a better area, than a larger home in a less attractive area.

During the selection process, Burger points out that buyers should pay attention to any defects that the property may have. Another aspect to consider is whether the home has been added onto, or other structures have been built onto the property. “The buyer should insist on seeing the municipal house plans to ensure that all buildings and features such as the swimming pool have been added to the plans,” says Burger.

One of the most important aspects of preparing to purchase a home is selecting the right agent to work with. “Legislation changes regularly, so it is vital to work with an agent that is experienced and knows the ins and outs of a property transaction.  A buyer should therefore choose an agent carefully because the right agent is a key factor in ensuring a smooth sale and registration process,” Burger concludes.

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